Why Matt Forte Will Be Key to Chicago Bears' Success in 2010

Zack PearsonCorrespondent IMay 19, 2010

BALTIMORE - DECEMBER 20:  Matt Forte #22 of the Chicago Bears runs the ball during the game against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on December 20, 2009 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Ravens defeated the Bears 31-7. (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images)
Larry French/Getty Images

After a tremendous rookie season in 2008, Matt Forte had a rather bad sophomore year in 2009.

In 2008, he rushed for 1,238 yards and eight touchdowns. He also had 63 receptions for 477 yards and four touchdowns.

Those are real good numbers for a rookie running back.

But what happened in 2009? Was it poor blocking? Poor play calling at times? Or was it just poor running on the part of Forte?

He rushed for only 929 yards on 258 attempts, with just four touchdowns. His receiving numbers were real close, except for the goose egg in the touchdown category.

I should also mention that Forte had just one fumble in 2008, but had six fumbles in 2009.

There is hope though for Forte.

In a Mike Martz offense, we know Forte won't get a boatload of carries again, but his activity in the receiving game will be elevated. It's obvious that Martz likes to pass the ball, with short passing being a primary thing in the offense.

If Martz can use Forte like he used Marshall Faulk, Forte will defiantly raise his numbers.

But what about the rushing part of Forte's game? I mean after all he is a running back.

Forte will likely have to split a lot of carries with Chester Taylor, who the Bears acquired in free agency from the Vikings in the off-season.

Taylor is a serviceable backup that can provide crucial playing time for the offense—something that can give Forte a boost himself.

The Bears finished with a winning record in 2008, and missed the playoffs by just one game. Forte's impressive season helped them achieve that winning record. At times, he was the offense.

Last season—when the Bears struggled—he struggled.

Not following blockers, not breaking tackles, and fumbling the ball were drive killers. This is something that can't happen with a stud at quarterback in Jay Cutler.

See the point I'm making here?

With all the pressure on Lovie and company to win this season, there has to be a great amount of pressure on Forte to play well this season.

Cutler and his receivers know with a "good" run game, they won't have to do all the work.

It's now up to Forte to provide them with that "good" run game.